London Festival of Architecture

Rainham Hall during the day nursery era (1943-1954)

The London Festival of Architecture is Europe’s biggest annual architecture festival, and returns to the capital from 1-30 June 2017 with hundreds of events exploring ‘memory’.

Our current exhibition at Rainham Hall, Remembering the Day Nursery, is based on the memories of people who attended a nursery at the Hall from 1943-1954. In 1942, Essex County Council requisition the Hall during a time of national crisis and set-up a wartime day nursery for children under the age of five. The Georgian house was converted from a private home to state-run facility for local mothers. For the first time, it was a public, communal building and the grand front door opened each morning to the youngest members of the community. In the day-time it was filled with the chatter and clatter of little children and their carers, but closed and silent at night. The story of this remarkable era in the Hall’s history is told here as remembered by Roger, Janice, John, Diane, Joe, Linda, and Pat, who all attended as children.

Visitors will discover tales of childhood enriched by memories of playtime, meals and naps, but also through the hazy mis-memories of a childhood spent in the Hall; with its staircases that seemed to go on forever.

Rainham Hall is open Wednesday to Sunday 11am-4pm, throughout the London Festival of Architecture in June 2017.